By Alex Webbe
The USA (Remy Muller, Geronimo Obregon, Felipe Viana and Robert Radcliff) cruised past Guatemala (by José Ignacio Beltranena, Sebastian Aycinena, José Miguel Aguilar and Fernando Beltranena), 10-6½ in FIP Zone A competition at the Port Mayaca Polo Club Friday morning.
The 10-goal Guatemala team received 3½ goals by handicap from the 14-goal USA contingent in the five chukker game, but it was Remy Muller who converted a penalty shot for the opening goal for the United States that cut the Guatemala lead to 3½-1. Geronimo Obregon added a goal from the field for the US team, 3½-2 before a 30-goal penalty conversion from José Miguel Aguilar extended the Guatemala lead to 4½-2. Muller and Fernando Beltranena traded goals to end the chukker with the US team trailing Guatemala, 5½-3.
The US team found their stride in the second period as they put constant pressure on the Guatemalan defenders. Five-goaler Felipe Viana scored once from the field and added a penalty goal. Guatemala was held scoreless, but continued to lead at the end of the chukker, 5½-5.
Shots on goal by the US players were close, but continued to miss the mark. A goal from the field from Robert Radcliff accounted for the only goal of the chukker, with the US defenders shutting down the Guatemalan attack for the second consecutive period. After three chukkers of play, the United States took the lead, 6-5½.
The US attack continued in the fourth with shot after shot being taken on the Guatemalan goal. Two more goals from Viana went unanswered as the American defense shutout the Guatemalan attack for the third straight chukker. With one period left in the five chukker match, the USA led, 8-5½.
Fifth chukker goals from Viana and Obregon had the UDSA on top, 10-5½, but there was no quit from either side. Aguilar finally managed to break through the US defenders for the final goal of the match and a comfortable 10-6½ US victory.
Viana led all scoring with five goals (two on penalty shots). Muller and Obregon scored two goals apiece and Radcliff added a goal for the win. Aguilar scored twice for Guatemala with teammate Fernando Beltranena adding a goal. Guatemala also received 3½ goals by handicap.
The victory will see the United States face Mexico (Juan José de Alba, Alejandro González, Mariano Gracida and Carlos Hernández) on Sunday at 3pm at the International Polo Club to determine who will advance to the XI FIP World Championship, October 21–29, at the Sydney Polo Club in Richmond, New South Wales, Australia.
Photos: David Lominska